READY, STEADY, YETI GO by David Jacobi lights up The Electric Lodge with shades of Megan Terry's "Comings and Goings" mixed with "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown!" It succeeds.
We enter the sacred hide out of a hearty band of seventh graders who meet ... like in a shack in a forest or something.. ready to put on a play. Adult actors playing at being kids seems a bit odd at first, until something happens.. The 'kids' come to life in a cosmic Chinese Fire Drill! We adjust to their energy as they drag us directly into their own special world.
Jacobi's "Ready, Steady, Yeti, GO!" hits us with social issues, ethics, silliness, puppy love and a roundabout of excellent theatre that I defy anyone who appreciates the stuff of taking chances to not fully appreciate and enjoy.
|Photo John Perrin Flynn / Rori Flynn and Jasmine St. Clair|
It is clear from the opening curtain speech by Shades (Morgan Wilday) played on her boom box that figures again and again in the presentation, that we are in for a good time: a roller coaster ride. Seatbelts!
For most of us who have actually been in the seventh grade, the awkward physical energy and stereotypical characters with basic moving set pieces by David Mauer are immediately recognizable..
Goon (Ryan Brophy) and Gandry (Kenny Selvey) are twins. Goon presents as the typical attempted bully and Gandry so sweet that the stage might just get a little sticky. Rori Flynn rocks as Katie and a couple of other characters, including Mrs. Apples who rocks: Namaste. I had a bit of trouble sometimes understanding Jasmine St. Claire as Carly who also plays both of her parents. She has a Dutch name which confounds folks because she is a beautiful African American.
The N Word spray painted on her home becomes the hub around which our story turns.
Randolph Thompson as Barry is the most protean of the crew, pulling off quick changes as a nerdy kid and the super Nerd: Wikipedia Jones.. worth the price of admission alone.
This is a brightly told though somewhat sad story of prejudice that steps up to the plate to try to fix a problem that remains a mystery to the very end. The show is a lesson in 'doing the right thing' and turns our own perceptions slightly on their ear because it's impossible not to have an opinion about prejudice and camaraderie, loyalty and love and stereotypes and what most of us have already weathered in one way or another, though my memory of my seventh grade love is one that will remain forever.
This tight ensemble ... Chinese Fire Drill and all is well contained by director Guillermo Cienfuegos who seems to understand that casting a great bunch of actors and finding what binds the story together is essential to a great show. It's a 'show' make no mistake... and the pleasure is in the telling.
The Rogue Machine Theatre continues to challenge itself and succeeds with this one. Parking at The Electric Lodge can be an issue, so come early and find a snack or dinner walking distance near by.
Be careful sliding your chair back on the risers!
“ReadySteadyYetiGo” by David Jacobi
Rogue Machine Theatre
at The Electric Lodge
1416 Electric Ave.
Venice CA 90291
8pm on Saturdays & Mondays,
7pm on Sundays(in June)
Sundays in July will be at 3pm only
Added performance at 8pm, Friday June 14
No performances Monday June 10 or July 8 Closing July 29, 2019
Tickets and information:
855 585 5185